AMD says former employees handed next-gen trade secrets to Nvidia

Four employees conspired to take trade secrets and solicit staff for rival technology manufacturer.


Four former AMD employees have been accused of taking "thousands of confidential documents" and company secrets to rival technology manufacturer Nvidia.

Artist's interpretation of how alleged crime may have looked.
Artist's interpretation of how alleged crime may have looked.

Chief amongst the accused is Robert Feldstein, a vice president at AMD--now working for Nvidia--who helped oversee the company's negotiations to include hardware in the next-generation Xbox and PlayStation and also the Wii U.

"This is an extraordinary case of trade secret transfer/misappropriation and strategic employee solicitation," says AMD's court filing in documents obtained by ArsTechnica.

On his last day working for AMD, Feldstein attached two external hard drives to his work machine and "onto those storage devices, three highly confidential files - two licensing agreements with significant customers and a document outlining proposed strategies to AMD's strategic licensing - were transferred," says the 15-page lawsuit.

Feldstein, alongside managers Manoo Desai and Nicolas Kociuk, allegedly swiped more than 150,000 files across six months before leaving the company,

Desai is also alleged to have brought a hard drive to the office on her last day, where she created a "folder called Perforce - which is the name of an AMD internal database containing the confidential technological work and development of AMD process and product."

Kociuk is accused of pinching 150,000 files across his two work computers, and AMD's cyber-detectives say he ran "several internet searches about how to copy and/or delete large numbers of documents." It's basically Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, and then Ctrl+V, Nicolas.

Using forensic analysis, AMD claims that "Desai and Kociuk conspired with each other to misappropriate AMD's confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret information; and/or to intentionally access AMD's protected computers, without authorization and/or in a way that exceeded their authorized access."

All three employees and one other manager, Richard Hagen, were also accused of attempting to solicit other AMD staff to join the competition.

The result of all these accusations is that the quartet are up against charges for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition, Violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Breach of the Employee's Duty of Loyalty, Breach of Contract and--as if that weren't enough--Conspiracy.

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